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Map Algeria

Official name: The People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria (al-Jumhuriya al-Jazairiya al-Dimuqratiya al-Shabiya)

The name ‘al-Jazair’ (the islands), which has long been used to denote the capital, Algiers, is derived from the rocks in the sea nearby.
Algeria, a large country rich in natural resources, can be considered the quiet giant of North Africa. Although part of the Arab world, a sizable minority of the population identifies itself as Berbers, and there is still a considerable French cultural influence. Throughout history, Algeria has experienced major social, economic and political shocks. Half a century ago, independence from France was gained only after an atrocious war against the colonial power. After a promising start as a major oil producer during the oil boom, a fundamental political and economic crisis in the 1980s culminated in a decade of civil war between Islamist groups and the armed forces.

At the turn of the millennium, decreasing violence and higher oil prices led to greater stability, especially compared to other countries in the Middle Eastern and North African region, but the structural tensions in politics and society have not been resolved. The military is still the major political power, and the country is still economically very dependent on revenue from international oil and gas sales. The Arab revolutions that emerged in neighbouring Tunisia, Libya, and elsewhere in the region beginning in 2011 appeared to have left Algeria unaffected. The impact of these events is as yet uncertain, and the regional upheavals in the Maghreb and Sahel, coupled with an imminent political-succession question, may have consequences in the years to come.

Further Reading

Algeria is considered one of the cradles of the first human ancestors, according to the results of a research conducted on Oldowan stone tools in its desert.
Facts & Figures Algeria
The environment is under threat from many directions. Industrialization, population growth, the war of independence, and the civil war of the 1990s have left their traces in the landscape and the ecosystem. Attempts to bring stepp...
Under French rule and earlier, the Algerian economy was based on agriculture. The major products were crops destined for export to the colonial centre, such as grains and wine grapes. In addition, some light industry existed, most...
Two decades on, the system and its leadership seem incapable of resolving these fundamental issues. Opposition parties are allowed to compete in elections, but they are unable to gain significant power on account of the way the sy...
The civil war of the 1990s brought large-scale violations of human rights. The number of victims is estimated, by government officials and others, at about 200,000. Civilians were explicitly targeted, for their opinions or on the ...
Given the country’s large surface area, the overall population density is low, with sixteen inhabitants per square kilometre. The concentration of people in the north, which makes up only 20 percent of the country, has, however,...
Most Algerians have become city dwellers, which has affected their way of life. Advances in education and health care have reinforced the trend towards smaller family sizes, but even those with a higher education face a lack of em...
Faces of Algeria have names, we hear about them but do not get the entire picture. Get to know these influential people in Fanack’s ‘Faces’ section.

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